Thursday, July 2, 2009

The End of the Lettuce

This is the time of year when I turn locavoracious. I spend a lot of time in the garden, so I've decided to post a bit about it when something of note happens.
Zizania's motto is "Delicious, healthy, ethical eating", and a garden fits all four words. Delicious, because things you grew yourself taste better than things you buy. It could be because of a biochemical harmony among the minerals in the ground nearby, the flavor of the vegetables, and the smells all around you in the air. Or it could be because of all the work you put in. Doesn't matter. Healthy, because nothing is added that you didn't add. And you get a lot of exercise digging, weeding, mulching, and harvesting. Ethical, because you have 100% control over what goes on in the garden. Nobody's exploited. Nobody's eating something they don't know about.
I pulled up the lettuce plants from the garden today. All spring, it was wonderful stuff. Tender, green leaves that tasted perfect with any kind of salad dressingI cared to put on them. But on the first full moon after the summer solstice, they turn into huge beasts, shoulder-high and leather-tough. It's a kind of botanical lycanthropy. So they had to go.
This year, my lettuce was a commercial mesclun mix. The green leaf lettuce and red leaf lettuce were great for sandwiches, the romaine was nice and sweet, the arugula was crisp and spicy, and the mustard greens were good as always (can't kill mustard greens). There was also lots of a bizarre maroon-and-blue triffid that tasted so bitter it should only be eaten at dinner with your ex. Most of that went straight to the compost pile.
So the lettuce was successful, and true to the Virginia climate, it's all gone, just as the cucumbers and tomatoes are starting to plump up. Never knew a "local tossed salad" was such a contradiction in terms.

1 comment:

  1. Replying to my own post!
    The Philadelphia Inquirer is just one day behind me:
    A Garden in Every Back Yard